Monday, March 1, 2010


I keep meaning to upload last years blog and get it printed into a book. I know it will take me a few weeks to edit it and so I keep putting it off. So instead I sit and blog. I haven't posted for a bit because I've been a bit worn out. February was a really difficult month for me with the kids and I'm sure there was some winter blues in the mix too.

Tanya and I do some therapy together and it was getting more physical, as in we are supposed to snuggle. And for her being miss cling and having to pet everyone I thought this would be easier for her than me, but if I tried to hug her or put my arm around her she would about punch me in the face. Stiffen immediately with fists protecting her face. So of course I backed off, which was bad in two ways. One: It reaffirms in Tanya's RAD mind that I can't love her, her mom was her abuser = mom's are bad, and she pushed me away and pushes Troy and I against each other and two: It makes it twice as hard for me to try again, thus causing a lot of un-needed pressure and stress. Plus I don't like to be touched by her anymore, because she was so clingy when she got here and totally invaded my personal space in inappropriate ways and there is all sorts of trauma there... not either of our faults, she has attachment issues due to neglect and abuse, and I only thought I was dealing with PTSD. Didn't have a clue about RAD at the time. So we are both learning and actually she has come a long way since we started with our amazing therapist. So in the end I was on edge and very stressed and trying too hard and she was on edge and stressed and avoiding. So it broke while we were in St. George over Presidents weekend.

I told her and our therapist I was done for a bit and needed to get me back into a good place. My last 9 months has just been the Ukraine kids, doctor appointments, English, Ukraine kids, more doctor appointments, more English and more Ukraine kids. I guess I forgot there was anything else going on in the world besides Ukraine kids and their needs This past month I found myself grieving to just be with my biological kids and having that family back for just even a day. I was falling apart. Plus a new round of Doctor appointments let us know Ana probably has FAS and ADD and so more testing and appointments - I'm so ready to have one week without any medical appointments. So I begin reading and researching so I know what we are dealing with, but of course read all the worst case scenarios... more depressing, we may have two kids now living with us the rest of our lives. I was done.

My sweet sister reminded me to step back and let every thing go for a little bit. Their lives here are better than if they were still in the Ukraine, so what if they stagnate for a bit. And that I need to step back and look at the big picture and give myself time. I have been pushing to have things normal around her by the kids one year mark. Guess what IT AINT HAPPENING. Guess what else these past two weeks have been good. After I told Tanya I was done for awhile (I pretty much told her I'd be her friend, but I wasn't going to be her mom anymore. I was just being done with her treating me like trash. She already had a mom and I was tired of the fight to be her mom). It may have been a good thing. Later that week was her first session where she really opened up to our therapist and piles of stuff about her mom came tumbling out. Some major wall(s) came down, even our therapist was amazed and happy, because it's been difficult. Tanya has spent a lot of her sessions learning what emotions are and and how to express and talk about them instead of blanking out and living in her head. Which is what she does because her head is safe, so I still think we are still at the surface of stuff (and she still acts about half her age), but that we took one huge jump forward.

I've been taking a brain class that has to do with re patterning reflexes with the hope that it would help our adopted children. Funny thing is that it was mostly to help Tanya, but her issues seem to be all emotional as her reflexes seem to be on. It has been more beneficial for Ana and Morgan. I have only worked through half of the reflexes on the kids so still have a bit of work ahead of me. Six kids is very time consuming. Especially when half are so needy you don't get to spend time with the other half... so I've decided it's ok to spend time with my biological kids and not feel guilty, ok I still feel guilty, but it has done my heart a bit of good.

And in that class I had a good reminder that we can't fix people. Problem number one, I'm a fixer, I like to control and fix things. It hasn't been working and it's because we can't fix people. We can't fix or change these kids, but we can care for them and help them when they want to change. She also talked a bit about finding joy in our lives and being happy and setting an example. Kids watch us and learn how to do things by copying us. They can want to change by wanting to be like us. It's all stuff I know, but for some reason I needed to hear it again so I can just chill for a bit. I'm still scared to death for summer to come, but with some therapy : ) and lots of planning we should all survive, right? Can't be as bad as last summer... things are already so much better than last summer, looking back I don't really know how we are still here, but we are and that is good too.


Tiffany said...

Carlin, I just couldn't do it! You are so strong and I hope things keep progressing. I hope summer goes well for you too! We will be coming soon for our Shriners trip (don't know when yet) but we're excited to see you all again! Love you!

Diana said...

Don't know why it took me so long to find your blog, but I'm glad I finally did! I've wondered how things have been going for you. Ugh - it sounds about like I expected. I am glad to hear you've been able to find some good help and some good resources.

This really is a remarkable post. You have some great insights here. Take some time to sit with them and be truely ok with them. Some of them aren't fun lessons to learn (Ha! BTDT!!) but they are all things that will ultimately make your family work.

Have you read Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control? Heather Forbes has 3 great books out now. They are God-sends, I tell you! She is also coming to Salt Lake the end of April to do a live (and free if you have one of her books) training seminar. I'm SOOO excited about it!

There's also nothing wrong with stepping back and taking a break. No guilt is necessary in reclaiming the focus on your bio kids. You're still their mom too. The brain training classes sound really ineresting. I'd love to hear more about them.

The one thing I SOOO wish is that these fabulous programs that make us aware of the plight of these kids and who push adopting them would do a better job of doing is educating and preparing families up front for what they may be getting into. It's very uncool and so very not fair to the parents, the kids, and especially to the other biological kids already in the family not to thouroughly educate about RAD, PTSD, FAS, OCD, SID, - all stuff that come in one form or another to kids who've experienced early deprivation, neglect, and abuse...which unfortuately are things that mark the pasts of most institutionalized kids. These aren't things a family should learn along the way through experience. They are things they should know about up front BEFORE their lives are completely turned inside out, controlled, and completely consumed by their new kids. Families need a solid support network and a mile-long list of resources for help before they even start an adoption dossier!

I'm still here if you ever want someone to talk to who does get it - and someone who can still assure you that things WILL keep getting better and better as time goes on (they won't be perfect and there will still be struggles, but they WILL get better.)

Hang in there!

Carol said...

Carlin, I can't even begin to imagine all that you and your family are going through. I can't imagine what kind of life your adopted kids would have if they were still in Ukraine. Hang in there. I'm sure it will be a tough road, but worth it in the end. It sounds like you are going over and above the call of duty in helping them recover and adjust. Try and see the progress of the whole nine months and not just the last week or month. Everything takes time. You amaze me. Lets go do lunch. (between all your dr. apts.)

Carlin said...


It was your blog last month that helped me realize that I needed to step back and re evaluate. And thanks for your email checking on me sorry I have yet to email you back. Your blog about not even looking at the things you brought back from Ukraine for 6 months and that your daughter finally was able to take things to school 2 1/2 years later, made me realize things aren't going to be normal in a year and it may be years if ever that Tanya will be ok. And I have to be ok with that. I did read the book and I need to reread it now that I understand better what RAD, PTSD and OCD... in fact I'll copy this and email you more. Your blog always gives me hope! Thanks for blogging.

Anonymous said...

I think you are one pretty cool lady...I agree with Diana; though I'm doing this on a leap of faith, I'm realizing there can be huge issues I'm getting scared...but I will hang on to my faith.

Lori said...

Carlin, I feel embarrassed that I said we're having some little issues. They are nothing compared to yours. I'll keep you in my prayers.

Wendy said...

Oh wow Carlin. Now I feel even worse that no one was there for lunch!
You are amazing. And like Lori, I feel embarrassed that I complain about Alex.
I so understand that clingy issue. I love Alex-truly I do but I get so tired of him being so needy and clinging to me. I find myself going through cycles of times I just can't hold him and caress him like he'd like. I just want to give him A hug or A kiss like I do my other children and move on. I joke that he's my Velcro Boy because he's always stuck to me!
I hope you can make it to lunch next week.
You have a wise sister....